Training for your supper

11th February 2005 at 00:00
Teachers will have to show they have honed their skills to qualify for salary rises, report Joseph Lee and Graeme Paton

Teachers will have to undergo continuous training and development to win pay rises under plans being drawn up by the Teacher Training Agency.

The changes come in response to the Government's five-year plan for education and demands to overhaul the fragmented system of professional development for teachers.

Ralph Tabberer, TTA chief executive, said most courses for teachers are little more than "time off", despite taking up 5 per cent of their working lives.

The TTA, which is due to be renamed the Training and Development Agency for Schools, wants staff development to be carried out in school and to be tailored to the needs of individuals.

Mr Tabberer said: "There's an idea that external courses are a lazy option.

They are seen as being time off, and I'm sure that's right. I've heard directors of education sometimes talk about it as if it is appeasement.

"We should put our efforts into helping schools develop a more comprehensive training and development culture. At the moment, it's fragmented."

The idea is that teachers would have to reach certain training standards to pass the threshold or get the proposed new "excellent teacher" status, which will offer them at least pound;35,000 a year.

Existing training programmes may be adapted to help staff to such pay-related training standards.

The programmes include the chartered science teacher status, a "badge of excellence" unveiled last month by the Association for Science Education, and the English General Teaching Council's Teacher Learning Academy.

Under this scheme, teachers submit dossiers outlining skills gained in day-to-day work in areas such as improving boys' performance. Credits can be amassed to work towards university degrees or diplomas.

Mr Tabberer said: "Progress to the new excellent teacher status or to threshold status and every stage of their career in future should be matched by developing yourself and mentoring other people. I think it's a powerful combination."

All teachers do a minimum five days' training a year. But research by the GTC last year found that 80 per cent felt they were not having their needs for continuous professional development met.

Schools will keep control of the money for staff development and are expected to become the main supplier of continuous training.

They will be asked to identify the individual training needs of staff, observe how they use those skills already in school, and offer feedback and advice on how to develop them further.

The proposals have been submitted to Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, after a request from her predecessor last year.

A pilot project, involving between 30 and 50 schools, is due to run for 18 months from April this year, with a website offering advice on training due to launch in the summer.

The TTA hopes the new approach to continuous professional development will spread to all schools by 2009.

In Hillingdon, west London, 26 schools produced their own professional development training pack for teachers last year. The pack, which came in response to concerns about training - sets out common goals for all staff More than 650 teachers from the schools, part of a local Excellence in Cities scheme, also attended a training session in November on behaviour management and using new teaching methods.

"We have had major recruitment and retention problems here and it was felt we needed to offer teachers something extra," said Barbara Lemmon, from the Hillingdon excellence cluster.


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